How to Communicate: Making your own Observation without Bias

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Scientists learn how to study objects without putting their own bias into the findings. As you may very well know, this is a very difficult task to do. If a scientist is studying the negative effects of chemotherapy in cancer patients, it is likely that person is studying it because they have an already pre-made position on what the findings may be. They formulate a hypotheses (“I believe this study will show that chemotherapy has more devastating effects to the body than healthy effects”). But within this process, a good scientist will look at himself and become self-aware of his own bias. His bias may be that he had a bad experience where his mother died from chemotherapy treatments. But in knowing this bias, the scientist is better able to look at the facts, knowing this bias, putting it aside, and seeing the facts behind the bias the scientist is better able to have a factual study.

One must learn the above process in order to communicate effectively. Putting aside your own evaluation of the process and first observing the facts of the event. For instance, if I go to my husband and say, “You’re lazy because you never do the laundry!” You may guess what his reaction will be; defensive! He will immediately feel the need to defend himself. What I did was make an observation (not doing the laundry) and putting my own evaluation (you’re lazy) on the event before hearing all the facts. So my approach could look more like this, “I have never seen you do laundry, why is that?” That gives my husband an opportunity to help me remember that we may have previously discussed that he doesn’t do laundry because he cleans toilets, which I never do. Knowing this new (or re-remembered) information, I can then look at the FACTS, not just how I feel about the situation, and re-evaluate how accurate my feelings are. I can then say, “Oh I forgot about that conversation, I was feeling an unequal balance of chores, but that helps. I still am feeling upset by it, but give me time and I will be able to get myself back into check.” Making sure to allow him the opportunity to present his side, looking at the facts, and presenting observation without my own evaluation is key to a relationship.

I can handle your telling me

What I did or didn’t do.

And I can handle your interpretations

But please don’t mix the two.

 

If you want to confuse any issue,

I can tell you how to do it:

Mix together what I do

With how you react to it.

 

Tell me that you’re disappointed

With the unfinished chores you see,

But calling me “irresponsible”

Is no way to motivate me.

 

And tell me that you’re feeling hurt

When I say “no” to your advances,

But calling me a frigid man

Won’t increase your future chances.

 

Yes, I can handle your telling me

What I did or didn’t do,

And I can handle your interpretations,

But please don’t mix the two.

 

-Marshall Rosenberg

 

Comment time! Let me know if you have had difficulties with this, I know I have! What are other tips you have come across that help you communicate better with those around you?

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